Marin’s Climate Action Plan – Moving into Checkmate Position

Marin’s Climate Action Plan – Moving into Checkmate Position

Fighting climate change is important – but what seems to have become even more important to special interests groups is placing significant impositions on the greater population, sometimes for profit, but also in the simple belief that everyone should make sacrifices to fight climate change, no matter how imposing and how minimal the actual impact is. These impositions surface as: High density housing appearing in your neighborhood, and you discover all ability to oppose it has been undermined (we have to do it to save the planet!) Noise and polluting transportation projects appearing right next to your house that encourage further development, cause congestion and ultimately a negative spiral towards apartment blocks served by trains and trolleys Money that could have been used to address severe traffic congestion problems is instead diverted to pet transportation projects that are entirely cost-ineffective at fighting climate change or moving any significant number of people Higher taxes, cap and trade funds used to pay for the above (high density housing, cost-ineffective transportation projects) Special Interests Moving into “Checkmate” Position What few know about, or realize, is that transit advocates, housing advocates and local government have been getting busy drafting their plan for how Marin should do it’s fair share to fight global climate change. Only a few of us realized what’s been happening – but it’s now time to pull the alarm cord and expose what’s going on. The drafting of Marin’s  Climate Action Plan 2014 Update is akin to special interests playing a game of chess, and moving their queen into position for checkmate. This action plan can be used in a...
The Myth Spreading Larkspur Station Area Plan DEIR

The Myth Spreading Larkspur Station Area Plan DEIR

Larkspur represents a focal point for transit in Marin, where the SMART train terminates, the Golden Gate Ferry and the Marin Airporter converge. The area already experiences acute parking issues either in the ferry terminal lot, or in the Larkspur Landing mall. The freeway is a choke-point for traffic – that has yet to be addressed (e.g. by the Greenbrae Corridor Project) and traffic intersections in the area fall  below the targeted acceptable level D. Special interests have been focusing on pushing through plans that would allow the building of an additional 920 dwelling units, a hotel and 77,000 square feet of commercial space. This week I reviewed the newly published Larkspur Station Area Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report – the precursor document used to inform final decisions to allow such development in the area. The Station Area Plan was funded by MTC and SMART. Here is what I discovered: Exaggerated Representation of Bike Path Usage Page 104 of the Larkspur SAP DEIR makes the following statement: “The most popular bicycle paths around and through the Plan area include the multi-use path along the Corte Madera Creek, the path along the southbound U.S. 101 on-ramp from Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, and the Cal Park Hill Tunnel Multi-Use Pathway. These paths are all heavily used by commuters and recreational users [emphasis added] alike to access such destinations as the Larkspur Ferry Terminal and the shopping centers located south of the Plan area. Compared to Car Travel, Bike Usage is Very Low The actual bike counts in the report show the following usage over a two hour period (car numbers to follow are over a 1 hour period): – Corte...
ABAG – Planning for a Population Explosion

ABAG – Planning for a Population Explosion

If the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is to be believed, the Bay Area is about to take on a wholly remarkable and unprecedented growth in population – growth far in excess of growth estimates by experts. This is important because it is these rapid growth forecasts justify ABAG and Plan Bay Area’s imposing policies – policies such as urbanizing small towns, significantly increasing densities and reducing automobile usage. Why Present Inflated Projections? Why would ABAG seek to maximize its’ population projections? I have started to learn an increasing amount about how an organization or individual becomes successful in the public sector. In the private sector the matter is simple – sell more, make money – this will lead to more responsibilities and a higher salary. In the public center it’s also about increasing one’s influence, but this is achieved by building a case to secure grants and financing. The bigger the problem a public entity can set itself up to solve – the more it can secure state and federal grants. The issue is further compounded by ABAG creating a housing & transportation ecosystem or industry – where it pays to join the parade as there are lucrative contracts for transit and housing consultants; and developers and builders stand to benefit from increased development opportunities. Others simply join the parade as it serves to progress their cause (e.g. transit and housing advocates). I cover this in more detail in the article Disenfranchised by an Ecosystem. Just How High Are ABAG’s Projections? Transportation consultant and former Controller-Treasurer of the Southern California Rapid Transit District Thomas Rubin, lays it out clearly:...
Fighting High Density On Our Terrain – A Force Multiplier

Fighting High Density On Our Terrain – A Force Multiplier

Maybe Marin’s supervisors are thinking that voters have memories like goldfish and they will soon forget about the 1,111 unit Housing Element that pushes for extensive high density development. But given the supervisor’s actions perhaps the reverse is true. The supervisors have delayed discussion of the Strawberry PDA just to the point where people will be starting to cast their votes as Supervisors Arnold and Adams seek re-election. Officials Promoting High Density – An Endangered Species Looking back, elected officials backing high density have rapidly started to disappear – they’re almost becoming an endangered species. In the Marinwood Community Service District election they were completely displaced. In Corte Madera David Kunhardt failed to win a seat. In San Rafael outspoken high density advocate Greg Brockbank, a well known name and former vice mayor, lost his race. Meanwhile a complete unknown who opposed high density, Randy Warren, came out of nowhere to nearly winning a council seat. For each dollar spent Randy won almost double the votes of other candidates (detailed analysis in my article here). Opposing high density is a FORCE MULTIPLIER in any election capable of DOUBLING the effect of campaign funds. Fighting in High Density Terrain When Ill Equipped with the Facts The supervisors seem to be unaware of the facts of either transit-oriented development (which doesn’t reduce CO2 emissions or solve transportation issues in suburban areas) or that they will be fighting on our terrain for this election. This coming supervisor election will be all about the high density housing that supervisors are pushing on voters – voters finding themselves completely disenfranchised by special interests. To oppose this here’s what we all must do: 1....